January 16, 2014

On the 12th Day of Not being Ridden...

Ypke gave to me...


It was super windy during the lesson, and Ypke was a ball of nerves. Sand and tumbleweeds were flying down from the hills at us, and it was miserable. She had a few big spooks and decided to bulldoze me around while I was leading her, so my trainer and I decided that today would be a showmanship lesson!

The pattern set up was simple. Start at cone A, trot to cone B, trot a circle around cone B, trot to cone C, halt, back four steps, and do a 180 degree haunch turn. We failed, and the thoughts going through my trainer's head were probably along the lines of: Have you ever even heard of showmanship?!

The trot circle went well, backing went okay, but the haunch turn was a mess and we were having issues halting. Her not wanting to halt wasn't anything major — just a couple little steps after being asked to stop — but if you give her an inch she will take a mile. After I became more consistent with backing her up fast whenever she took another step forward, she got the hint and quit. We did have some issues doing the trot circle clockwise though, be eventually it improved quite a bit. As far as the haunch turn goes, it turns out that I was not standing at the right place. After standing further back towards her nose, I actually started to get the hang of it, but of course whenever my trainer asked Ypke to do them, she would be perfect. In short: Started out terrible, but in the end we were doing pretty good!

After the lesson, it was still really windy, so I wasn't able to ride.  At around 3:00 a miracle happened! The sun was out, the wind was gone, and it was 55 degrees! I decided to tack her up Western and lunged her a little to see where her mind was at. Much to my surprise, there was no bucking on the lunge line — I suppose the groundwork earlier helped! I hopped on and she was the perfect pony — no tantrums or spooks. She was doing a slow jog on a free rein by the end of the short 20 minute ride. It was very enjoyable and fun! Sometimes it is nice not to work on anything and just enjoy the ride.

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